The Splash Education Center is a private facility that houses Sacramento Splash. The building is centrally located at Mather Field, facilitating exploration of more than 1,000 acres of high-quality vernal pool grasslands that surround it.
The Center hosts class trips for schools that participate in the Splash Elementary Program. It also serves as a meeting facility for organizations working on issues related to science education, natural resource conservation, watershed management, and connecting youth to the outdoors. Members of the Splash Club also gather at the Center to advance their scientific investigations and explore the animal and plant inhabitants of Mather Field.
The Splash Education Center is one of many buildings at Mather Field that once served the Air Force and its military community. Over the years, it has housed a convenience store, the Mather Credit Union, and more recently, the sales office of the Independence at Mather developer that converted the military’s family housing units into new homes. The building is currently owned by Sacramento County and leased for use by the Splash program.
The Splash Education Center is home to a collection of live animals that are found in the vernal pool grassland or other local habitats. These animals live in a room in the Splash Center that we call “Critterville.”
Sacramento Splash never takes healthy animals out of the wild. We only keep critters that would be unable to survive on their own, either because they were injured or because they were captive prior to coming to Splash.
Vernal pools were once common in the grasslands around Sacramento, especially in the vicinity of Mather Field. The vast majority of pools have since disappeared under the plow or in the wake of expanding urban development. Experts estimate that we now see fewer than 10 percent of the vernal pools that existed in California in John Sutter’s time.